The last day of the trial against five climate activists who are accused of blocking the Weisweiler lignite-coal-power plant in 2017 in Germany begins tomorrow. RWE, the owner of the plant and Europe`s biggest CO2-Emitter, is also sueing the activists for two million euros in compensations.
During the trial, the activists stated that the action was necessary and legitimate: “The blockade saved 26 000 tons of CO2, which would otherwise have accelerated climate change. Also the air-pollution the power plant causes was reduced that day. It endangers the life and health of many people in the area. The blockade was an act of self-defence, it was legitimate and also not against the law.“ says Cornelia, who is accused.
On December 2nd, the 25th UN Climate Negotiations started in Madrid. “They have been negotiating longer than I live, but have yet failed to take action. Meanwhile the climate crisis is getting worse and worse. That is why we need to take climate-action into our own hands“ says Mike, who is also accused.
Scientists are alarmed by the climate action plan the German government agreed on in September. It is not nearly conform with the previously set goal to keep global warming below 2 °C. 1.4 million people in Germany who demanded appropriate climate action in the Global Climate Strike were ignored. A meterologist and a physician testifyed in favour of the activists. Supporting the claim of self-defence, they stated that the air pollution of the power plant Weisweiler alone causes 278 death and thousands of lung diseases every year.
Moritz, also accused, states: “We will use the trial to publicly accuse RWE of the worldwide destruction of livelihoods through lignite-coal-combustion. Repression cannot stop this movement, solidarity is our strongest weapon,” says Moritz.
The activist group “WeShutDown” had blocked conveyor belts and diggers at the Weisweiler coal power plant near Aachen early in the morning on November 15, 2017, achieving the almost complete shutdown of the large-scale power plant. At the same time, closeby, the 23rd UN Climate Conference took place in Bonn. RWE`s three lignite-fired power plants alone emit about ten percent of German CO2 emissions, is increasingly targeted by climate activists and initiatives. German and international media like „Süddeutsche Zeitung“, „The Guardian“ and „Diario Publico“ report about this trial.